The federal government has finally rescued the ailing Ark Airline from total collapse and immediately appointed Receiver/Manager to avoid the impending retrenchment in the aviation sector.
Ark Air has been facing tremendous challenges, notably heavy indebtedness in recent times.
Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), who took over the distressed airline said it “clearly underscores the government’s commitment to instill sanity in the country’s aviation sector to prevent a major catastrophe”.
The airline management according AMCON, will now be by Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, an aviation expert, under the receivership of Oluseye Opasanya, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Speaking on the development, Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister of State noted that the move will bring about sanity in the airline.
“We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilise the operations of the airline,” he said in a statement.
“This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalize the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”
AMCON said Arik, the largest Nigerian carrier, can now operate without hitches to avoid “job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds”.
“From all indications, respite may have come the way of Arik Airlines currently immersed in heavy financial debt burden that is threatening to permanently ground the airline,” AMCON said in a statement.
“For some time now, the airline, which carries about 55% of the load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before Arik goes under like many before it.”
“The airline is so overwhelmed to the extent that the worker’s wages are not paid for several months, leading to occasional confrontation between the management of Arik and different Aviation Unions in the country,” AMCON said.
“It was Arik’s inability to pay its workers for seven months that forced the United Labour Congress (ULC) and Engineers Union to recently shut the offices of the Airline across the country causing untold hardship to thousands of travelers and an embarrassment to the aviation sector in the country.
“Besides owing workers’ salaries, the Airline has also not been remitting the taxes of workers to relevant bodies thus also defrauding the country.